Japanese plum wine or ‘Umeshu’, as it is called in Japan, has gained immense popularity as an easy-drinking sweet fruity beverage all over the world and even among people who usually are not inclined to consuming alcoholic beverages!
What is Umeshu?
Umeshu is a sweet-sour alcoholic beverage with a distinctly fruity aroma from the Land of the Rising Sun – Japan. As the name Umeshu suggests, this is commonly made using raw ume plums. Umeshu is coined from two words – ‘ume’ meaning the ume plums and ‘shu’ meaning wine or alcohol. Thus, Umeshu means plum wine or plum alcohol. Umeshu is rich in citric acid and antioxidants. Hence it aids in digestion. Over and above that, it has important vitamins and minerals that enhance the health of your skin, hair, and nails. However, it is advisable to consume Umeshu in moderation.
Is Umeshu a type of wine?
Well, despite what the literal translation says, Umeshu is not exactly a type of wine. Umeshu involves mixing the ume plums with liquor and sugar and keeping them for about six months. Here no fermentation is involved in the process. Hence, it cannot be considered a wine.
How much alcohol does Umeshu have?
The Japanese usually have very strict laws about making alcoholic beverages at home. However, making Umeshu at home is acceptable in the country as it essentially involves only mixing the ingredients, producing a negligible amount of additional alcohol in the process. Legally, Umeshu comes under the category of fruit liqueur with a minimum of 20% alcohol by volume and the final Umeshu not containing even 1% more alcohol than the alcohol used to make it. Usually, 35% white liquor is used to make Umeshu.
Does Umeshu have an expiration date?
No. If utmost care is taken to prepare Umeshu correctly, ensuring no external microbes enter the container during aging, and if it is stored away from direct sunlight, it will not spoil & will stay good for many, many years. In fact, just like whiskey or wine, Umeshu also gets better with age. It is interesting to know that in Japan, there are often traditional tales of parents who put together a batch of Umeshu when a child was born only to drink it with their child when he or she reached the legal drinking age of 20.